The Tamar Community Trust has entered into an agreement with the Environment Agency to act as a key delivery partner for a £2.2million flood defence scheme on the River Tamar at Calstock, south east Cornwall. Due to rising sea levels, more extreme weather and deterioration in the historic embankment, Calstock has become more at risk from flooding. As a result, the Environment Agency has obtained funding to construct new embankments and create intertidal wetland habitat in part of the flood plain. Once completed, these wetlands will help to protect against river flooding and surge tides whilst providing important biodiversity habitat.
The Trust has agreed to partner the Agency by delivering The River Tamar Walkway and Wetland Project. This will ensure a key 1.2 km stretch of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail directly upstream from Calstock is maintained by designing and building a walkway above a breach in the current flood defence bank. This breach will connect the wetland to the River Tamar as river levels rise and fall with the tide.
As part of its agreement with the Trust, the Environment Agency has agreed to lease a 6-acre meadow next to the village to the Trust for local amenity use once works for the walkway are completed. Funds from events to be held there will be used to maintain this section of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail and the walkway structure.
The Tamar Community Trust was established with charitable status in 2009 to mutually support and work in partnership with the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and to act as a delivery partner for the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Working alongside the Tamar Valley AONB, it has over 50 volunteers who maintain amenity trails and woodlands in the Tamar Valley (including 25km of multi-use trails at Tamar Trails, Gulworthy), measure and enhance local biodiversity, and manage woodlands to source firewood for local use.
Jane Kiely, Chairperson of the Tamar Community Trust said:
“The River Tamar Walkway and Wetland Project sits directly within our stated role to work alongside the Tamar Valley AONB to undertake work that helps protect, conserve and promote the natural landscape and heritage of the Tamar Valley. We are delighted to be able to support the community around Calstock with this important project, which should protect them from flooding, maintain public access to the River Tamar and provide the local community with long-term access to an important local amenity field.”
Julian Brooke Houghton from the Environment Agency said:
“With funding focussed primarily on protecting homes, essential work to protect smaller communities like Calstock depends on local partnerships to make the most of any scheme. This partnership has ensured that flood risk is managed, the environment is enhanced and a popular riverside walk is retained and even enhanced.
Julian continues, “The Agency is delighted that the Trust and the Partnership Group have persevered to reach this agreement for the benefit of the entire community.”
The Tamar Valley AONB, Calstock Parish Council and Calstock Footpath Society have also played a key role in ensuring that the various stakeholders in the project have been represented. The Tamar Community Trust was assisted in the negotiation of the agreement and lease by solicitors Brown Rudnick LLP and Gowlings WLG.
For more information on the Trust and how to volunteer, please visit https://tamarcommunitytrust.wordpress.com/